In 1920, a few dozen Armenians who had fled Turkey to escape the massacres settled near Atlit. A Christian Arab landowner leased them Sheikh Brak lands. When he fled to Lebanon in 1948, the lands were appropriated and distributed to the kibbutzim in the area.
"Your state and mine deceived them and took all the land from them," says former agriculture minister Pesach Grupper, an Atlit resident who once employed the Armenians in his fields. Not only was the land taken away from them, their village was not connected to the electricity grid and did not have proper sewage. "But they were content. That's their way," says Grupper.
One after the other, the young people married and left the village. The last Armenians left Sheikh Brak in 1981, after receiving compensation from the Israel Lands Administration (ILA). Each family was given what amounts to about $40,000 in today's terms.
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